It's a frightening experience: you're driving along and hear sirens and see flashing lights in your rear view mirror. It's enough to throw anyone off their game and make it difficult to stay focused.
This article offers helpful tips that can help you stay calm and focused in the event you are pulled over by police on suspicion of drunk driving or operating under the influence of an intoxicant or other drug (OWI) in Wisconsin.
First Thing's First
Stay calm and be respectful.
This is not the time to get angry, defensive or display an attitude. Your goal is to get through this situation without complicating your case or make matters worse by antagonizing the officer. This can lead to additional charges, such as resisting arrest.
Remember, you can get through this.
10 Things to do After Getting Pulled Over for Suspected OWI in Wisconsin
The following list of actions to consider if you are pulled over by police for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) in Wisconsin, does not and cannot constitute legal advice, as there is no way to know the specific circumstances surrounding your current situation. It is simply presented as a list of recommended steps to take in order to maximize your chances of a smooth, uneventful stop.
1. Take a breath.
2. Stay calm.
3. Get your license, registration and insurance information ready.
4. Be polite and respectful.
5. Be careful about what you say, since what you say to the officer can and will be used against you.
6. Keep in mind, you are NOT LEGALLY REQUIRED to submit to field sobriety tests (FSTs) in Wisconsin, including the breathalyzer test in the field*. You have the right to refuse.
7. If you choose to refuse FSTs, be polite and respectful when declining.
8. If you choose to decline the FSTs, be prepared to be arrested on the spot.
9. Be cooperative as you are being taken into custody, knowing you have already potentially helped your case by declining to submit to subjective and often inaccurate FSTs
10. Contact an experienced OWI attorney as soon as you are able.
*Once you have been arrested and are in policy custody, you will be required to submit to chemical testing (breath, blood, etc.) as a condition of Implied Consent in Wisconsin.
If you are mindful of these points throughout your interactions with law enforcement during a DUI stop in Wisconsin, you can potentially help the ultimate outcome of your DUI case.
- The Consequences of Your First OWI in Wisconsin
- 5 Ways You Might Incur Extra Penalties for OWI-Related Incidents
- Defending a Wisconsin OWI Case: You Have Options
Two OWI Defense Success Stories
OWI-First Offense in Chippewa County, Wisconsin
The client was charged with OWI and operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration at or above .08. The client was stopped after speeding approximately 10 mph above the posted speed limit and subsequently arrested. He registered an alcohol breath concentration of .12. The defense replicated the driving and alcohol consumption scenario on the night in question and did a subsequent Intoximeter test showing the defendant’s alcohol concentration. The defense was prepared to show the scientific basis for the huge discrepancy and the defense was also prepared to prove that the arresting officer was not qualified to properly complete the field sobriety tests and made multiple errors in implementing those tests. Days before the scheduled jury trial, the Village conceded that it could not prevail and the PAC charge was dismissed and the OWI amended to reckless driving.
Criminal Drunk Driving Victory in Wisconsin
State of Wisconsin v. R.B.
Attorney Stangl recently represented an off-duty law enforcement officer who was picked up for drunk driving. His chemical test result was significantly above the legal limit and he was charged with criminal drunk driving. Attorney Stangl quickly had the criminal charges dismissed by pointing out to the prosecutor that his client was improperly charged. After several pre-trial motion hearings, the case proceeded to a jury trial. Shortly after the State’s first witness began to testify, Attorney Stangl objected to the Trooper’s testimony and moved for a mistrial. The trial court ultimately declared a mistrial.